The Oregon Coast Council for the Arts welcomes conceptual and installation artist Melody Owen for her exhibition, “Brackish Reports,” May 4 to 26 in the Media Room at the Newport Visual Arts Center. The “Brackish Reports” series uses the mediums of video, sound and Second Life to create dioramas and scenarios that explore human ideas about the animal. A First Friday opening reception will be held for “Brackish Reports” on May 5, 5-7pm, with the artist scheduled to talk about her work at 7pm.
Owen has an MFA in electronic integrated arts and is currently finishing her second masters in environmental arts and humanities at Oregon State University, with a focus on how digital and sound artists explore the idea of the animal and animal language. She is creating her thesis exhibit in the old 1920s greenhouses on the OSU campus, where she will present a curated show of international video and sound artists as well as her own installation of digital video exploring language, species extinction and identity in virtual worlds.
“I am currently working in the virtual world space of Second Life. It is a game world in which you are provided an avatar and you can change that avatar or find a new one and then explore or shop or build things,” Owen says. “It is made up of thousands of islands and cities and has been built entirely by the gaming community. It is huge.”
Owen makes videos called “machinima,” a form of video-making which takes place only inside of video games. “I simply buy items which I have found that were made by other players and assemble them like everyone else is doing. It is a lot like collage but it is 3d and moving, so it has been thrilling to someone used to cutting paper.”
“I am very interested in human/animal hybridity in avatars and also other ways that animals are imagined in virtual space. These videos are a collection of short videos, small adventures and presentations of ideas in the game world.”
After appearing at the VAC, Owen’s videos will be screened at her thesis show on June 1, 7 to 10pm, in the greenhouses on the OSU campus, in Second Life and in real life simultaneously.
Melody Owen is a conceptual artist who uses drawing, video, collage, installation and other mediums to address environmental issues facing humans, animals, insects, water systems and very old trees. She also explores the nature and perception of time, reality and language across species. She is based in Oregon and is represented by Elizabeth Leach Gallery. She has shown at the Portland Art Museum, PICA, Disjecta, and at other venues in Oregon, the USA and Internationally. Owen has participated in artist residencies in Iceland, Paris, Quebec, Switzerland and Oregon.
The Media Room is open Tues.-Sat., noon to 4pm.